How to get children to brush their teeth? Dental hygienist Chiara Fabrizi explained to us why the little ones often refuse toothbrushes and toothpaste, gave useful information on how to brush their teeth and offered various useful tips to help parents convince the little ones to perform this important daily action. .
How to brush the teeth of the little ones? When should I start? What are the most appropriate strategies to get them to brush their teeth?
We interviewed the dental hygienist and writer about it Chiara Fabrizi, who explained to us precisely why the little ones often refuse toothbrushes and toothpaste, gave us useful information on how to brush their teeth and at what age it is appropriate to start and offered various useful tips for parents.
Chiara Fabrizi is the author of the book The smile of my child (Ventura Edizioni), in which she has inserted what you need to know for the care of baby teeth from the very first days of life. “My baby’s smile” is also a project in all respects: a team of professionals from various pediatric realities collaborates on the site with various insights.
In this article
Why do children often not want to brush their teeth?
According to Chiara Fabrizi, children do not want to brush their teeth because, in most cases, they associate this action with a negative moment or a forcing. For example, they think about bedtime, which disrupts their favorite activities.
«Often then the parent does not carry out this action together with the child, but gives an external imposition. Furthermore, unfortunately the parents do not begin to brush their little teeth from the very first months.
It should also be remembered that, in the case of brushing the teeth, autonomy is obtained around 10 years. From 0 to 10 years, the parent helps their children to brush their teeth, for example by giving a precise brushing to the arches and all the teeth.
The habit of brushing your teeth must be given from the first months: if you start only at three years, it is much more difficult for the child to fully accept this action. The secret is to start right away“.
At what age should I start?
“As I said, immediately. Even when there are no teeth, you can start cleaning the mucous membranes after feeding, removing the mother’s milk with a gauze or silicone fingers, or even with a special bunny-shaped glove.
If you start right away, the child will get into the habit of brushing his teeth as a game or as a cuddle, considering it a normal daily action ».
How should children brush their teeth?
«There are many tools to use according to the various steps of the child. This is the reason why I decided to make a complete guide for parents, namely My baby’s smile.
At 0 it is important to use the little garzina, then you need a toothbrush sized according to the baby’s mouth and so on.
As for the toothpastes, it is essential to evaluate what is inside: especially the fluoride content, based on age groups. So fluoride yes from six months, but pay attention to the quantity: at the beginning only a veil (or a grain of rice) is fine, towards the age of 6 the quantity to be given is equivalent to the size of a pea.
Then change the percentage of fluorine present in toothpaste: it will be 1000 parts per million (ppm) in toothpaste to be used from 6 months to 6 years, after 6 it will be 1450 parts per million (adult toothpaste).
Fluoroprophylaxis occurs topically and partly systemically: it is known that young children ingest a little toothpaste when washing their teeth and this replaces the old method of fluoroprophylaxis using drops or tablets ».
Strategies for getting children to brush their teeth
According to the hygienist Chiara Fabrizi, here are the suggestions for parents.
- «It is important to start immediately to make children brush their teeth.
- Associate brushing of the teeth with a moment of play.
- Never entrust teeth cleaning only to children: they do not yet have the necessary manual skills and adequate perception of space. The parent must always help.
- If the child does not want to put his hands in his mouth, you can make it learn by imitation. Mom can pretend to brush dad or another child’s teeth in the house. So the little one notes that it’s a fun thing that he can participate in too.
- You can choose a song that lasts 2 minutes and tell the little one that the brushing of the teeth lasts as long as that song. There are podcasts on Spotify with stories about brushing teeth. This is one way to create a positive association.
- You can also read a story or watch a cartoon together while brushing their teeth. The important thing is to combine the action of brushing the teeth with something pleasant and positive ».